IIT Madras completes 18-month study on Internal Migration in Seven South Asian Countries


Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras has completed an 18-month study on internal migration in Seven South Asian Countries. It was commissioned by the Department for International Development (DFID), a U.K. Government Agency, and covered Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. The findings have been submitted to the DFID and will be taken to the policy makers in the respective countries.

The review was funded under the DFID Systematic Review Programme for South Asia, which was coordinated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC India) and received technical and quality assurance support from EPPI-Centre, University College, London.

The objective was to synthesise the findings of quantitative and qualitative research conducted on the effects of interventions and approaches for enhancing poverty reduction and development benefits of ‘within country migration’ in South Asia.

The Main findings include

Ø Employment seeking is the principal reason for migration in non-conflict ridden regions. Lack of skills presents a major hindrance to enter the labour market at the destination.
Ø Temporary and seasonal migration is higher in South Asia compared to permanent migration. The vulnerability of temporary/seasonal migrants’ households at the origin is higher as the households depend on remittances.
Ø Interventions that are addressing issues related to informal sector employment have higher positive impacts when supplemented by social networks in the context of rural – urban migration.
Ø Continued dynamic interventions over longer periods of time tend to yield better results than single point static intervention especially in the context of seasonal migrants.

The Review study was taken up by Dr. M. Suresh Babu, Associate Professor, Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras, Prof. G. Arun Kumar, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, and Prof. Umakant Dash, Head, Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras.

The Methodology of the study:

The Study sources are 13 electronic databases, hand search of 67 journals over a 25 year period, 24 website searches, personal communication, and cross references of identified studies. This was supplemented by an In-depth review. Sixty-eight studies that met the exclusion, inclusion, and quality appraisal criteria were included in the evidence synthesis.

The Synthesis method: Given the heterogeneity of the studies, three distinct methods were used. They are the meta-analysis, count of evidence, and narrative synthesis. To assess the impact of interventions from the available evidence, the Professors examined a variety of indicators and classified them in terms of individual outcomes, household outcomes and regional level outcomes.